Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • Greek courtier to Dionysius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse, who according to legend was forced to sit at a banquet table under a sword suspended by a single hair to demonstrate the precariousness of a king's fortunes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the Greek courtier to Dionysius the Elder who (according to legend) was condemned to sit under a naked sword that was suspended by a hair in order to demonstrate to him that being a king was not the happy state Damocles had said it was (4th century BC)

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